They say that patience is a virtue. Besides the ubiquitous “they,” my fellow colleagues here at RotoGraphs have been reminding you of the same. I’m here to remind you of the same. The first five games of the season should influence your expectations for the rest of the season, but only by the very tiniest bit.
With that said, there are very few ways to analyze what we’ve seen to date in a meaningful way. So I’ll pick out a few guys that maybe, actually should be looked at differently.
Alejandro De Aza (up), Dayan Viciedo (down): The story with De Aza was that the White Sox were ready to move on after acquiring Adam Eaton in the offseason. De Aza was considered a very good fourth outfielder behind Eaton, Avisail Garcia and Viciedo. And a crowded first base situation prevents the club from using the spillover at designated hitter.
Thus far, we’ve seen Viciedo spend most of his time on the bench while the hot hitting De Aza continues to take starts. This should resolve into a straight platoon, but De Aza has a defensive advantage in the corners and could hang on as the starter if he continues to mash. More importantly, his at bat projection has probably increased by 200 after this first week. Viciedo’s playing time projection declines proportionally.
Ryan Braun (down): Braun’s thumb issue is back, which could mean less bat control and power. As someone who invested in Braun in two leagues, this is a big bummer.
Billy Hamilton (down): I so very much wanted to gamble on Hamilton this year, but the draft prices were positively ridiculous. I generally saw him go between rounds three and five or for about $20. So far he’s 0-for-12 with a walk and a million strikeouts (six). For someone who was sent home from winter ball because he couldn’t read breaking balls, this is a disturbing start to the season. I’d consider selling.
Casey McGehee (up) and Jeff Baker (up): Look, I don’t like them either, but they’re batting second and cleanup. Considering that they’re free, you could do worse for an injury replacement or spot start.
Carlos Ruiz (up): He’s batting anywhere from second to seventh depending on the day. He also looks like the second half Ruiz, who was eminently rosterable.
Abraham Almonte (up), Corey Hart (down): Almonte is looking like the full time center fielder and leadoff man. Meanwhile, Hart is on part time duty as he continues to recover.
Juan Lagares (up): With Chris Young on the disabled list, Lagares appears to be the everyday center fielder. He also occasionally bats leadoff. Besides those two factors, he’s no great shakes in fantasy.
Marlon Byrd (up): He’s batting cleanup against lefties and fifth against righties. We kind of expected that, but I think his stock dwindled during draft season as the Phillies offense did nothing in Florida.
Justin Smoak (up): Regression looms, but I’m not sure anyone really factored how nice it would be for Smoak to bat with runners on base. The top three of Almonte, Brad Miller, and Robinson Cano is actually pretty formidable. Smoak might have a shot at 100 RBI with full time reps. I know, that sounds crazy.
B.J. Upton (down): We know he’s on a short leash, so a 1-for-12 start to the season with six strikeouts is concerning. I said stay away, but others couldn’t pass up the history of 50 home runs plus steals. It’s too early to panic, but Upton has less wriggle room than most.
Bryce Harper (down), Adam LaRoche (up): We’ll wrap things up with a possible MVP. He’s currently being used out of the six-hole most nights. I don’t know what’s up with that, but it’s happening and it kills his value. Meanwhile, Adam LaRoche is still batting cleanup.